Triggered Movie Review-Way More Fun Than Donald Trump Jr.’s Book

Triggered is a nasty little piece of work made by people who clearly love old school horror. It’s gross, comical, and fun as hell.

Triggered has pieces of classic horror crammed in almost every moment. Elements of the Saw Franchise, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Nightmare On Elm Street, and Friday The Thirteenth combine with sci-fi survival story The Running Man. It’s a bit of a free for all with so many references, but oddly it all works to create something utterly entertaining if not terribly original.

What starts as a friend’s weekend of fun in the woods quickly descends into a battle royale for their very lives. The group wakes up with bombs and timers strapped to their chests and no way out except death. The timers reflect each character’s countdown. The only way to survive is to kill their friends and steal their time. If your time runs out, you explode in a rain of blood, guts, and brains. Kill or be killed is a premise that has been explored before, but never in quite such an unflinching way. Despite being friends, this group splinters almost immediately and begins picking each other off. You find yourself wondering how they were ever friends. This proves especially true when Kato, a gloriously psychopathic Russell Crous, goes full Jason; I mean Patrick Bateman(you’ll get the joke later).

They are harboring a dark secret, and someone is intent on exposing it and making the group atone for their sins. Before the bombs, there is barely contained tension among the group. Jealousy, resentment, insecurity, cheating, and lies glue these nine friends together in a horrible way. A cold open of a killer and his first victim set the stage for the kind of vicious humor and blood to come. Triggered is an unmerciful onslaught of humanity’s worst attributes. There are a few sincere moments of genuine heroism, but even those are short-lived. If there is one misstep, it is not delving into the backstory a little more. A window into how they all came to be who they are and friends would have amplified the tension.

Production value is good with some brutal kills and interesting set pieces. Slick effects and well-framed shots keep the focus on the gore. There is nothing complicated about the deep woods setting or the gruesome deaths but that isn’t a bad thing. This is the type of movie that begs for a bag of popcorn and a relaxed mind. Forget the stress of the election and watch some friends break down and hack each other to death. It’s basically a microcosm for most families during an election year.

The cast is categorized into their respective stereotypes early on. All the boxes get checked. There’s the weakling, the nerd, the idiot, the rockstar wannabe, the drug dealer, and the jealous girlfriend, among others. This is a circle of friends who share a boatload of unpleasant history. Dialogue suits the ridiculous nature of the film. Characters lean hard into their respective roles and deliver lines with absolute abandon. Bands are called Butthole Equinox because now that they are out of college, it’s essential to be more mature than their previous name Cock Tumor.

I wanted to be annoyed by the broed-up dudes and the pathetic chicks, but I found, despite myself, I actually rooted for some of them. That’s Triggered’s greatest strength. It sneaks up on you and worms its way into your heart. It isn’t intended to be a serious rumination on humanity’s inhumanity, nor is it intended to be a thoughtful head-scratcher that scares through psychological impacts. Instead, it is a slice of survival horror circa 1995.

There is something cathartic about watching these despicable characters off one another. Most are garbage people who sort of deserve what they get. There’s a gleeful meanness about Triggered that plays perfectly off the cruel violence. Mostly, these are terrible people who have had their civility stripped away and reveal the monster they have been hiding all along. One final twist makes even one of the less unpleasant characters vile. Very few are spared.

Triggered is the kind of sick film that will likely make you feel much better about yourself and your friends(assuming you don’t have some terrible secrets, that is). Director Alastair Orr and writer David D. Jones know exactly what their film should be and never veer from that vision. These two have utter confidence in their brand of ridiculous depravity. It allows the film to be enjoyable rather than embarrassing. Better to watch with friends or family, it isn’t cinematic greatness, but it is the kind of easy fun that will bring a chuckle and fill a night. Triggered is easily one of the funniest, unabashedly repulsive horror films in years. Samuel Goldwyn Films will release Triggered On Demand everywhere and Digital on November 6th. 

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